Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Seven suspenseful novels that examine immigrant identity

Zhanna Slor was born in the former Soviet Union and moved to the Midwest in the early 1990s. She has been published in many literary magazines, including Ninth Letter, Another Chicago Magazine, and Michigan Quarterly Review, and she is a frequent contributor to The Forward. She and her husband, saxophonist for Jazz-Rock fusion band Marbin, recently relocated to Milwaukee, where they live with their young daughter.

Slor's new novel is At the End of the World, Turn Left.

At CrimeReads she tagged seven suspenseful titles that examine immigrant identity, including:
The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai

Full disclosure, I know Rebecca Makkai—but we were still strangers when I first fell in love with her debut novel, The Borrower, about a young librarian named Lucy who “kidnaps” her favorite young patron after he runs away from his overbearing mother, who intends to send him to conversion therapy. This spawns an epic and entertaining road-trip across the Midwest, which is another plus, as I love to read books set in unusual places—i.e. not New York. Along the way, Lucy must use the connections of her shady Russian father to escape persecution; the conversations between Lucy and her immigrant father are some of my favorite parts of the book, and add a good amount of levity to the writing (Rebecca’s father was Hungarian, so I imagine she knows all about the intricacies of this type of relationship). A great read for fans of immigrant literature, as well as road-trip literature, or quirky atypical protagonists. One of my favorite, most-relatable lines, was this: “For one thing, he’d bought it from a man named Uncle Nicolai, who was not my actual uncle and who had no discernible job other than doing favors for other Russians.” Yes! So many “uncles.”
Read about another entry on the list.

My Book, The Movie: The Borrower.

--Marshal Zeringue